Why La Carreta is More Than Just a Restaurant

Miami Coffee Phenomenon

Have you been fortunate enough to visit Miami? If yes, then you must have experienced that boisterous atmosphere both inside and outside La Carreta.

Don’t feel bad if you haven’t had the chance to visit La Carreta yet. Today is your day! By the end of this blog post, you will get that same rush that you would get when stepping out of La Carreta after a reinvigorating cup of Cuban coffee.

The First La Carreta Restaurant

La Carreta dates back to the Cuban Revolution in 1959. During this period, millions of Cubans migrated to Miami and brought with them their rich coffee culture and culinary traditions, which started to take root when the first La Carreta opened in 1972.

Felipe Vals, a Cuban emigrant, laid the foundation for his chain of La Carreta restaurants. The building where Cuban culture was reborn previously was a Western-style dining trailer called “Wagon Wheel.” Vals didn’t make many changes to the restaurant’s setting and kept the wooden wheel as décor for the building’s facade. It was only a matter of days before La Carreta became a hub of authentic Cuban dishes, attracting thousands of customers daily.

The Magical World of Ventanitas Outside Every La Carreta

Do you know what people in Miami do when they are lost?

They go and hang out at the window shops (ventanitas) outside of La Carreta until they see a familiar face. No one can resist a luscious cup of Cuban coffee. As soon as the sun sets, everyone rushes to the ventanitas, captivated by the taste of their delicious Cuban food and sweets.

As you might have already guessed, ventanitas are window counters outside of La Carreta that offer food to customers on-the-go. These ventanitas have gone from being just a counter to something very special.

People gather around the ventanitas every night to enjoy their favorite pastime–socializing and chatting with others. You can find grandpas debating politics, teenagers hanging out with their friends, night shift workers grabbing a cup of coffee before their shifts, and women discussing the latest fashion trends in town.

No, ventanitas are not a modern marketing technique. In fact, ventanitas date back to La Carreta’s founding in 1972. According to Felipe Vals, the ventanitas were a necessity. He didn’t want to waste his customers’ time by having them go into the restaurant just to buy just a cup of coffee, so he set up a counter outside.

We prefer it that way, don’t we? Faster delivery when on-the-go.

You must be wondering, what is it that makes La Carreta so special? Is it the café cubano’s creamy espuma? The authentic Cuban food? Or is it the rich history that people find so alluring?

It is said that “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” We believe that it is the culture that has preserved Cuban coffee’s original taste and kept La Carreta alive because we pour every cup of coffee we serve with love. It is love and culture that bring the people and La Carreta together as a family.

Did you enjoy this imaginary adventure? By now you must be dying to be immersed in La Carreta’s enthralling atmosphere. In fact, we are eager for you to join us and take part in the cultural rituals we celebrate everyday here at La Carreta.


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